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Poetry, Politics, and the Body in RimbaudLyrical Material$
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Robert St. Clair

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198826583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198826583.001.0001

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(Anamnesis) Revolting Bodies: “Le Forgeron” and the Poetry of the Past

(Anamnesis) Revolting Bodies: “Le Forgeron” and the Poetry of the Past

4 (Anamnesis) Revolting Bodies: “Le Forgeron” and the Poetry of the Past
Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud

Robert St. Clair

Oxford University Press

weChapter 4 takes up the question of poetry and engagement at its most explicit and complex in Rimbaud, focusing on a long, historical epic entitled “Le Forgeron.” We read this poem, which recreates and re-imagines a confrontation between the People in revolt and Louis XVI in the summer of 1792, as Rimbaud’s attempt to add a revolutionary supplement to the counter-epics modeled by Victor Hugo in Châtiments. Chapter 4 shows how Rimbaud’s “Forgeron” challenges us to examine the ways in which a poem might seek “to enjamb” the caesura between poiesis and praxis by including and complicating revolutionary (counter)history into its folds in order to implicate itself in the political struggles of its time.

Keywords:   poetry and revolutionary history, the poetry of commitment, Hugo, the epic, the People, democracy

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